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Eating and drinking difficulties, such as loss of appetite and swallowing problems, are common in dementia, but little is known about the experiences of ethnic minority groups who are managing these difficulties at home. The purpose of our study was to explore the meaning of food, the impact of dementia on eating and drinking, and carers’ experiences of support. We undertook semi-structured interviews with 17 carers and people with dementia from ethnic minority backgrounds living in England, using thematic analysis to analyse the data. Food/drink had strong links to identity, culture and emotions. Providing culturally familiar foods, celebrating traditional festivals and supporting previous food-related roles promoted reminiscence, which encouraged the people living with dementia to eat and drink, as did social interactions, although these could lead to distress in those with more advanced dementia. Food choices were also influenced by carer strain, generational differences and the impact of health conditions. Despite a strong sense of duty to care for relatives at home, there was low awareness of community support services. The carers expressed a need for culturally tailored support for managing dementia-related eating and drinking difficulties at home. Healthcare professionals must provide contextually relevant advice to carers, being mindful of how cultural backgrounds can affect dietary choices

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SPCR Project number: 489 , PI: Pushpa Nair


nutrition; hydration; dementia; eating; drinking; food; ethnic minorities; culture